CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Utah Bars, Pubs Enjoy Some Normalcy On St. Patrick’s Day

Mar 17, 2021, 6:15 PM | Updated: 7:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were back in bars and pubs across the Wasatch Front one year after they were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The party scene at the Piper Down Pub in Salt Lake City was already well underway Wednesday afternoon as crowds gathered and a live band played inside. People gathered at tables and masks came off as customers ate and drank.

“It feels good to be back to this normalcy. It takes a minute to get used, to but it’s great to have it back,” said Brian Gates, who showed up with friends. “It’s really exciting this year that Salt Lake County got down below a high transmission that we can be with a large group and enjoy St. Paddy’s day.”

Kathryn Hopkins showed up to celebrate her 38th birthday.

“It’s my birthday and St. Patrick’s Day,” she told KSL. “Missing it for a long time. So I’m glad that we are back out to hear Irish music again.”

It was exactly one year ago today that bars across the Wasatch Front like Piper Down were shut down because of the virus.

For owner Dave Morris, it was devastating. He had just spent thousands of dollars the day before on food gearing up for a major party. That’s why it felt so good to see crowds again.

“We got shut down and it was with no notice,” said Morris. “It feels really good to sit down at a table and pull your mask off to eat and drink, and if you are not eating and not drinking, put your mask on and leave because someone else is waiting for your table.”

For the Heathen Highlanders bagpiper group that was playing at the pub, business was booming Wednesday.

It was one of 18 gigs they had this St. Patrick’s Day. Last year, they didn’t have a single one because of the virus.

“Today is insane,” said Eric Evenhuis, who runs the group. “To be able to play on St. Patrick’s day is amazing.”

But some restrictions were still in place. Masks are still required if guests are within 6 feet of each other and are not eating or drinking.

“We are in a different place right now a much better place,” said Tom Hudachko, director of communications for the Utah Department of Health. “(But) we just want people to continue to be responsible. A year into this thing people know what the right thing to do is.”

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Utah Bars, Pubs Enjoy Some Normalcy On St. Patrick’s Day